Faculty Innovation Grantees Announced for 2019

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Congratulations to our 2019 Faculty Innovation Grantees! These CRLS teachers and advisers will be energizing education with a little help from Friends of CRLS. Grants are up to $1,000 each to fund these projects. Our total number of grantees since 2007 is now 205.

  • David Figueroa, Teacher, ELL Department (pictured above) — “The Common Ground through Dance Initiative” to provide workshops led by Jean Appolon, director of Haitian contemporary dance company JAE, addressing themes of identity through dance and movement.
  • Alvaro Amaral and Shantu Salvi, Health and Wellness Teachers — “Development of Nutrition Education Curriculum with Healthy Foods” to make the Nutrition course in the wellness department more skills-based and engaging by introducing students to new foods and new ways to prepare food.
  • Sandra Cañas, Enroot Program Director, and Juan Casillas, Faculty Latino Club Adviser — “African American and African Caribbean Showcase / Latino Club” to bring performers to CRLS to showcase the different music and dances from Afro Caribbean cultures at an event organized by students.
  • Brett Cramp, Drama Teacher — “Guest Artist Theater Maker & Choreographer” to collaborate with dancer/choreographer/actor Junior Cius, a CRLS alum, on an original physical theater piece.
  • Vera Duarte, Teacher-in-Charge, ELL Department — “Bringing the Prom Experience to Immigrant Youth” to provide half-price prom tickets to English Language Learners so money is no barrier to immersing themselves in the CRLS community.
  • Charlotte Dumont, Teacher, ELL Department — “CRLS Department of English Language Learners Community Building Project” to foster a sense of belonging in the school community by presenting CRLS t-shirts and hoodies as prizes and awards to deserving students at ELL events.
  • William McDonald, Biology Teacher — “Antibiotic Resistance Lab” to give students the opportunity to witness evolution in real time over the course of two weeks using current lab researcher techniques. 
  • Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, 11th Grade English Teacher — “CRLS Open Mic + Poetry Series” to invite local poets to share their craft, working towards creating a youth-centered space for expression.
  • Drew Pierce, Math Teacher at HSEP — for students to spend 3 days exploring the trails and learning about environmental science, ecology, culinary arts, and leadership at the Noble View Outdoor Center in Russell MA.
  • Ivan Stefanov, Chorus Teacher, A Cappella Adviser — “A Cappella Guest Artist” to invite producer Evan Linsey to work with CRLS a cappella students in learning techniques characteristic of collegiate groups.
  • Laura Umbro,  Music Teacher — “CRLS Chamber Music Collaboration” to invite chamber music professionals from Longy School of Music and Radius Ensemble to perform, facilitate master classes, and  coach student musicians.
  • Susie Van Blaricum, Adviser to CRLS Student Government Junior Representatives — “Junior Prom” to provide a more cost effective dance for 11th graders, with a large number students involved in planning.

FOCRLS News: A Letter from Elaine Schear

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August 31, 2018


Dear Friends of CRLS,

After twelve incredible years co-founding, volunteering with, and becoming the first Executive Director of Friends of CRLS, I am retiring from this position effective August 31. My time with FOCRLS the non-profit organization has unquestionably been the best work experience of my life. As a “first generation” daughter of parents who didn’t have the opportunity to attend college and a mom who got her high school diploma when I was in 10th grade, Friends of CRLS gave me the unique pleasure of helping to support many students in similar and much more challenging circumstances.

Despite warnings to the contrary, I felt from the start in 2006, that we were in exactly the right place at the right time to make a success of Friends of CRLS. After all, social justice was and is a core value of our school system as a whole, and at CRLS systems were in place to advance opportunities and nurture students along a path to college which, without support, can be overwhelming and discouraging.

Starting with a few small donations and a green light from then-Principal Chris Saheed that has continued unabated with the support of Principal Damon Smith, we started a faculty innovation grant program and over time were able to add on college scholarships, an unsung heroes program, student travel fellowships, a college-readiness program, and faculty distinction awards.

We knew that if we were going to live up to our mission of “engaging the whole Cambridge community in supporting our students” we needed to move well beyond CRLS to independent businesses, universities, global corporations, foundations, city leaders, and alumni. We now have valued partners among all of these groups. We work hard at making CRLS visible as the incubator of diverse young talent that it is – talent that is worthy not of their charity, but of their investment. The message appears to be working; our 12-year donation total recently topped a stunning $1,000,000!

I leave as executive director knowing that our programs are having a significant impact on students’ aspirations and perspectives on the world. I’m proud of the fact that the FOCRLS organization and its mission to create opportunity and investment is respected and increasingly supported throughout much of the Cambridge community. Our foundation is secure, and FOCRLS is positioned to bridge the effects of income inequality at CRLS for as long as it is needed.

My gratitude goes to all who have been supportive of FOCRLS and of me personally and professionally: our board and advisory council members, CRLS administrators and staff, our many parent and student volunteers, donors and sponsors, and the CRLS students and teachers who inspire us with their energy, talent, and commitment to make the world a better place. Without them, Friends of CRLS would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am honored to have been the leader of FOCRLS and will watch with much excitement and anticipation as Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School makes new strides to narrow the gap between family income and educational opportunity.

I’ll be using the period ahead to give my attention to pressing personal matters that I’ve postponed for too long, but I plan to continue to support CRLS and Friends of CRLS wherever I can be of help.

Let’s stay in touch!

With appreciation and affection,

Elaine Schear, Ed.D.

(617) 275-6338

Student Spotlight: Xolotl

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Xolotl, our Class of 2018 recipient of the CRLS Core Values Scholarship and the Colonel & Mrs. Henry Bayard McCoy Memorial Scholarship, now enrolled at Stanford University, told us:

“I am on a journey to learn about the link between masculinity and violence.  At Stanford University, I hope to further this journey by studying how societal norms related to gender, sexuality, and racism place particular constraints on men of color.  As a major in anthropology with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, I hope to study masculinity and racism.  My long-term aspirations are to one day become a professor who can write, teach, and research about Latinx masculinity and gender, and the unseen impact it has on people’s everyday lives.”

Congratulations, Xolotl!

Student Spotlight:  Mikayla

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Mikayla, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the CRLS Core Values Scholarship, now enrolled at UMass Boston, told us:

“My plan is to go into the nursing major to receive my Bachelor’s Degree, work as a registered nurse to gain some work experience in the field, then eventually go back to graduate school, obtain my Master’s Degree in Nursing, and become a psychiatric nurse.  Another one of my goals during my junior and senior year of college is to travel abroad and do internships where I can have the opportunity to work in hospitals in different countries and provide medical care for those who do not have the money to afford efficient medical care.”

Congratulations, Mikayla!


Student Spotlight:  Shaina

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Shaina, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the Friends of CRLS First Scholars Award, now enrolled at Salem State University, told us:

“One of my personal goals is to become a Neonatal Nurse because I have a strong love for babies. I also want to help ease families’ responsibility while taking care of newborns.  My other goal is to go back to my country, Haiti, to build a hospital, because in Haiti, not a lot of mothers have the access to give birth at a hospital.  This scholarship will help me achieve my passion’s goal, because I will be able to stay focused on my career instead of thinking about how I will repay loans.”

Congratulations, Shaina!


Student Spotlight: Joshua

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Joshua, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the Mary Frances Monti Scholarship, who is enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told us:

“I really see the genuine worth in maintaining literature in our modern society. I want to pursue literature in any medium that allows me to share it with the world and those around me.  The infinite open-endedness of literature allows for a deeper sense of individualism while simultaneously pulling us closer together – and being able to show it and introduce it to others is a real and significant dream I will not give up on.”

Congratulations, Joshua!

FOCRLS Welcomes MYSEP Employee Ezra!

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FOCRLS is delighted to welcome Ezra, our wonderful summer 2018 Administrative Assistant, courtesy of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MYSEP)!  Ezra Howe is a Class of 2020 student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and began working with us on July 2nd. Over the summer, Ezra will be helping with our social media, the Friends of CRLS website, and local outreach in Cambridge. He is looking forward to helping us raise money for programs that will help Cambridge youth like him get scholarships and go on trips around the world.

FoCRLS’ 100 by 100 Cambridge Business Community Scholarship Initiative reaches its first year $10K goal! (11/30/2015)

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A BIG THANK YOU!!! Cambridge businesses CRLS!

FoCRLS’ 100 by 100 Cambridge Business Community Scholarship Initiative reaches its first year $10K goal!

Friends of CRLS thanks the following “100 by 100” Founding Donors for supporting the students of Cambridge with scholarship donations ranging from $100 to $2,000:
Arams #2 House of Pizza; Architectural Resources Cambridge ; Austin Architects; Bagelsaurus ; Barrell Plumbing & Heating Co. ; The Barrett Family; Beat Brasserie ; Black Ink ; Bonny’s Garden Center ; Boston Marriott Cambridge; Broadway Bicycle School ; Broadway Marketplace; Cambridge Auto Center; Cambridge Printing Company ; Cambridge Trust Company ; Carlone & Associates ; Charles Hotel ; Chestnut Hill Realty;; Club Passim ; Courthouse Seafood Susanna; Crema Cafe ; Custom Eyes ; Daedalus Restaurant ; Dickson Bros. Hardware ; Didriks ; Fleming Printing Co. ; Formaggio Kitchen; Forty Winks; Four Burgers; Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty ; Gnomon Copy; Grendel’s Den Restaurant and Bar; Harvard Book Store; Harvard Square Business Association; Hong Kong Restaurant; Irving House and Harding House; Local Root; Longleaf Lumber; M. F. Keane Contracting; Middle East Cambridge Bicycle ; Newbury Comics Porter Square Books ; Noble & Wickersham, LLP; OPositive Coaching & HR Services; Pann Home Services & Remodeling ; Petsi Pies; RV Print Solutions; S+H Construction, Inc.; Sheraton Commander Hotel; TAGS Hardware; Tayrona; Trinity Property Management ; University Stationery Company; and Zoe’s Restaurant.

A huge thank you too to Cambridge Local First for endorsing and promoting the 100 by 100 Initiative, and to the Harvard Square Business Association for being an organizational sponsor. Their ongoing support has been so important in getting word out about the 100 by 100 Initiative

The $10K raised in scholarships will be presented at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School at the 2015/2016 CRLS Scholarship Night. This scholarship initiative was launched by Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (FoCRLS), a nonprofit organization benefitting students and faculty of the city’s only public high school. “We are thrilled – but not surprised – at the enthusiastic response of Cambridge business leaders; the “100 by 100” campaign hit its first year goal of $10,000 over a month before year’s end,” said Elaine Schear, FoCRLS’s Executive Director. “Cambridge is fortunate to have such an engaged business community.”

IMPORTANT NOTE — It’s not too late to become a Founding Donor! “100 by 100” donations received by December 31 are eligible, so interested businesses should email us at info@focrls.org, call us at 857-235-9290 or visit our website at www.focrls.org.

FOCRLS Board Comings and Goings! Sabino / Vernon / Baxter / Toner (11/29/2015)

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Much news from the FOCRLS Board. First, Friends of CRLS sends a big thank you to outgoing Board President Jamie Sabino for her commitment and service to CRLS, first as FOCRLS Treasurer, and then as President, including leading our organization through its strategic planning process. We are pleased that Jamie will continue to serve on the FOCRLS Board.

Secondly, we welcome our new Board of Directors President Elizabeth Vernon and Secretary Dawn Baxter, and thank them both for their dedication and hard work — past, present, and future, as well as Neil Rosenburg, FOCRLS Treasurer for the talents he has brought and continues to bear for the organization.

And finally, we are honored to welcome new Board member Paul Toner, who has an illustrious career in education and is sure to be a source of wisdom and inspiration.